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Crunching Numbers: Retiring Georgia Stergios Reflects on Her Storied Accounting Career
If you ask Georgia Stergios what she wanted to be when she grew up, chances are she would have laughed and said definitely not an accountant. As she prepares to retire from UNLV after 24 years as a business analyst professional, she reflects back on the unique career path that led her to Las Vegas and the endearing memories she made while working at the university.
“The funny thing is - I didn’t want a degree in accounting,” said Stergios. “I decided to go back to school (after a short hiatus on the beaches of Florida) to finish my college degree. I chose to focus on accounting because it was the logical choice. I had a lot of credits in business already and didn’t want to start all over.”
Once Stergios graduated from Southeast Missouri State University, she worked as a general accounting clerk, processing travel expense reports, bank reconciliations, and financial statements, for a midwest discount department store chain and later TGI Fridays in Dallas, Texas.
But after some years, the daily grind of crunching numbers grew tiresome. It was time for a change.
“I ended up going back to school - again. I was a natural at the numbers game but wanted to explore the creative side of me. That’s why I chose to pursue a fashion design degree.”
Lone Star State to California Dreamin’
With a degree in fashion design and another in accounting, Stergios set her eyes for the west coast. One - to be closer to family, and two - who could resist the sun and fun of the Golden State? Stergios set up roots in Los Angeles, landing manager jobs in a couple of high-end department stores in Pasadena and Beverly Hills.
Stergios reminisces about many great memories working in the greater Los Angeles area. But one that sticks out the most includes a sterling silver flatware order, the Costner family, and Thanksgiving. Yes, the “Bull Durham,” “Dances with Wolves,” and “Field of Dreams” Kevin Costner. Just ask her about it.
And even though she didn’t have the accountant title, Stergios found a way to crunch numbers while working in the retail fashion industry. “I’d run weekly sales reports and track product sales by vendors. I used the data to plan merchandise layouts to help boost sales.”
Guess you can say Stergios shares similarities with Ray Kinsella, Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams.” At a young age, Kinsella found playing baseball “like eating vegetables or taking out the garbage” and “started refusing” it. The same can be said about Stergios and her early opinion about accounting. They both were running away from the things they thought they hated but ended up chasing after it in the end.
Bright Lights City Bound, Higher Education Rebellion
The retail industry is a fickle one. A lot of ups, downs, changes, and uncertainties, so Stergios packed up and moved to Las Vegas.
She found work as an assistant to a financial planner in the private sector, and a year later, started work in the higher education sector at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Her first university job was an accounting clerk at the Thomas & Mack Center, where she enjoyed attending some of the events there.
Stergios also worked at the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies and the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering as a management assistant, where she handled all of the accounting for the department. She was later appointed to executive assistant to the dean for the engineering department.
Her knack for numbers led her to UNLV Office of Information Technology (OIT), where she has worked for the last 17 years - first as the budget officer and finally as the associate director of IT administrative services, managing the department’s fiscal resources, annual budget, and administrative support team.
Her role and responsibilities within OIT evolved over a period of time. Stergios attributes that Dr. Lori Temple, UNLV Vice Provost for Information Technology.
“Lori made a big impact on my career. She encouraged me to take initiative, allowed me to take action, and trusted me. She pushed me to do better, and for that, I’m grateful.”
Her involvement with the university didn’t end at her office doors. Stergios has been involved with the local UNLV chapter of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, since it’s colonization in 1999, and has served as the campus advisor for the past several years. She also volunteered to work the Ask Me informational booths, annual classified council awards ceremony, and the LabMan technology conference hosted by OIT.
“Sure, I’ll miss the excitement on campus, my colleagues, and the friends I’ve made here. But I’m ready to enjoy retirement life.”
Adding a Splash of Color to Life’s Canvas
Stergios promises that her crunching numbers days are over - for now. So what’s next? She plans to dedicate more time to the arts, eventually displaying and selling her artwork at local craft shows.
“I started taking painting classes through UNLV Continuing Education in 2012 as a way to relax. It’s something I find a lot of joy doing. It’s a way to express myself artistically, and I’m excited to share it with others.”
Her two sisters have even joined her in some of the art classes. And it was one of those siblings that told her about a public employee art exhibition sponsored by the city of Las Vegas. On a whim, she entered several paintings for consideration, and one was selected for display inside city hall.
“It’s so exciting to see your own artwork on display in a public setting.”
At the same time, Stergios submitted photos of some of her paintings for consideration in the Las Vegas City Hall Loan Program, not expecting anything. Soon after, she was contacted by the program coordinator wanting to see one of her entries in person.
“Once she (program coordinator) saw my floral painting, she agreed to use it as part of a rotating art display in the office of the Las Vegas mayor. Can you believe it? My painting is being considered for display in Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s office!”
And as over-the-moon as Stergios is about telling her story and artistic journey, we all should be just as excited to celebrate her 24-year career at UNLV.
We hope you’ll join us on Feb. 25 as we congratulate Georgia Stergios on her retirement.
Please contact Eva Perez at email@example.com or 702-895-1043 for more details.